Monday, September 5, 2016

Rein-Toon-Ation: Pink Panther & Pals (2010)

MGM reacquired The Pink Panther several years ago, but how did they respond to the two live-action feature film remakes with Steve Martin as Inspector Cleuseau? Not very well.

Pink Panther & Pals bowed on Cartoon Network in 2010, reintroducing the Panther and Ant & the Aardvark to a new generation. Unfortunately, the classic style of animating the characters didn't come with them, especially in Ant & the Aardvark.

While the Panther remains silent, his nemesis, the Little Man, has been redubbed "Big Nose", because of his most outstanding facial feature. Still, their shorts are the usual 7 minutes of chaos, as if some older plots had been recycled over and over again for a new audience. It's just too bad the background animation is minimal and lacking in texture.

Just as unfortunate is the fact that the producers needed two actors for Ant & the Aardvark, giving the Ant a new, streetwise attitude, courtesy of Kel Mitchell (ex-All That!, Kenan & Kel). John Byner did it better back in the day. It's almost as if Mitchell is trying to mimic Chris Rock in voicing Ant.

Scope out this sample episode, and you'll see what I mean.

I don't like the idea of Ant & the Aardvark in the jungle. That isn't the right environment for them. A forest is one thing, but an African jungle? Fuhgeddaboutit!

Rating: C.


Goldstar said...

IIRC, Pink Panther & Pals sat on the shelf for a couple of years before Turner finally aired the series, initially on Cartoon Network on Sunday mornings and then a few weeks later the series was moved to Boomerang, where it finished it one season run.

I saw a couple of episodes of PP&P. The Panther shorts weren't great, but they weren't terrible either. I would typically watch these shorts and then immediately forget about them and move on with the rest of my day. The Pinkster being de-aged into a teenager seemed unnecessary, though.

The Ant and the Aardvark shorts were definitely the weak link of the show. The lack of John Byner's vocals haunted those shorts constantly.

hobbyfan said...

It ran on Boomerang overseas in 2011, per the usually unreliable Wikipedia. I hadn't seen it until screening the episode posted. The Panther, de-aged into a teenager? No wonder this was a bomb.

Jeff said...

I didn't realize that Pink was intentionally changed to a child. It doesn't really work, since the lanky adult Pink Panther is iconic.
Also, the backgrounds are really off-putting on the PP shorts. They've copied the Freling-DePatie style, but miss the point. The originals were stylized, but they were still well-though out. The new ones had the sketch style, but perspective was broken all around, foreground and background don't work together, and so on.
Overall, it looks very cheap and cookie cutter.

hobbyfan said...

Put the emphasis on cheap, Jeff, and you're on the right track. Since Pink doesn't talk, you can't really tell that he'd been de-aged. Maybe a few inches are missing, from what I could tell.